'Abd al-Rahman Jami (d.1492), Yusuf va Zuleykha, attributed to Salim Nishapuri, Persia, Safavid, second half 16th century
Persian manuscript on paper, 12 lines to the page written in elegant nasta’liq script in black ink, arranged in 2 columns, ruled in blue, red, green and gold, headings in blue against a gold ground, illuminated opening frontispiece with 4 lines of elegant nasta’liq text decorated with polychrome and gold interlacing scrolls, 3 full-page miniatures on f.10a, 72b and 106a, heightened with gold, gilt-stamped binding with filigree-work doublures, with flap
Read Condition Report
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25.2 by 15.5cm.
Formerly in the library of Bertram Ashburnham, fourth Earl of Ashburnham, (1797-1878), May 1897, appendix no.CXCI.
Gift from Sydney Cockerell (1867-1962) to Wilfrid Scawen Blunt (1840-1922), 1900.
Ex-collection Philip Hofer (1898-1984), Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Thanks to an inscription on f.1a, we know that by the end of the nineteenth century, in 1303 AH/1885-86 AD, the present volume changed hands in Shiraz, when the attribution to Salim Nishapuri was made. By 1897 the volume was in the collection of the fourth Earl of Ashburnham, whose library was sold between 1878 and 1901 by his heir, the fifth Earl. We can presume that this manuscript was among the lots sold. Another ownership inscription at the top of the page records the gifting of this manuscript from Sydney Cockerell to Wilfrid Scawen Blunt in 1900. Sydney Cockerell was employed by Blunt firstly as a secretary and later become his executor. He was also the director of the Fitzwilliam Museum between 1908 and 1937. Thanks to his initial employment, Cockerell was introduced to the social circle of Blunt and his wife, Lady Anne, and became deeply immersed in their general aesthetic taste, travelling extensively with them in the Middle East at the end of 1890s. This volume was presented to Blunt in 1900, the same year the three of them nearly died at sea en route to Mount Sinai. Further to that incident, Cockrell made a pledge to never shave again. Finally, the manuscript came into the hands of the distinguished East Coast collector Philip Hofer.